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Callier Center Will Honor Hospital Foundation Leader with Care Award
March 25, 2019
The University of Texas at Dallas’ Callier Center for Communication Disorders presents the annual award to an individual or group who has contributed significantly to the betterment of the community and to advancing the care of patients with communication disorders. Luncheon proceeds benefit patients in need with speech, language and hearing disorders through the Callier Care Fund.
Since 2016, Christopher has served as president of Children’s Medical Center Foundation, which supports Children’s Health, the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas. For 11 years prior, he was president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT).
“Brent’s leadership, especially through the creation of North Texas Giving Day, has propelled philanthropic participation in the community,” Dr. Ken Altshuler said. “His energy, dedication and personal magic have empowered many to support the various worthy causes in North Texas.”
Christopher led CFT’s “impact for good” movement to better the lives of people in North Texas and beyond, while the foundation’s asset base grew from $647 million to $1.1 billion. In addition, CFT’s total grant-making crossed the cumulative $1 billion mark with a new strategic focus on education and low-income working families.
In 2009, Christopher helmed the team that launched North Texas Giving Day –– the nation’s largest day of communitywide giving –– which has infused more than $240 million into the community since its inception and inspired the creation of similar programs around the country.
About the Award
The Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award, created in 2012, is named for Dallas community leaders Ruth and Dr. Ken Altshuler who have made a difference in the lives of patients with communication disorders and their families. The Altshulers created the Callier Care Fund, which provides assistance to children and adults with hearing, speech and language disorders regardless of their income, insurance or socioeconomic background.
“North Texas Giving Day has elevated the awareness of how crucial nonprofits are to our quality of life,” said Christopher, “and it has helped those nonprofits raise new financial support to accomplish their missions.”
Over the years, North Texas Giving Day has contributed to the Callier Center’s fundraising efforts, resulting in gifts of more than $400,000 that have benefited patients in need.
“It has grown beyond any of the wildest dreams we had in those early years,” Christopher said. “It feels like CFT, in collaboration with other wonderful foundations and with support from thousands of nonprofits and individuals, tapped into the incredible philanthropic spirit here.”
Christopher’s drive to advance philanthropy extends to communities across the country. During his time at CFT, he served as a national strategy committee member of the Alliance for Charitable Reform, which educates policymakers about the role of philanthropy in America. In this capacity, he testified before Congress regarding the value of the charitable deduction.
“It was a real privilege to be a part of helping lawmakers understand how the nonprofit sector works and what they can do at a federal level to encourage more charitable giving,” Christopher said.
His path to philanthropic leadership evolved from an initial career in law as a trial attorney with Cowles & Thompson and then as general counsel at Dallas Baptist University.
Along the way, he retained a private career coach –– a former Hewlett-Packard Co. executive –– who helped him envision how to further employ his love of communication and problem-solving in the nonprofit sector.
Callier Cares Luncheon
When: noon to 1 p.m. Monday, April 15
Where: Dallas Country Club
Donations: The luncheon is sold out, but donations are gratefully accepted here.
He went on to serve as director of development at Children’s Health, prior to joining CFT. When he was under consideration for the role at CFT, he met Ruth Altshuler. She had been involved with CFT for several decades and served as its first female board chair.
“She was such an engaging and generous philanthropist in this community and nationally,” Christopher said. “I certainly had to pass muster with Ruth, or I would not have made it past go.”
In the years ahead, he worked closely with Altshuler and the CFT board, creating a philanthropic strategy to leverage limited pools of money for the greatest possible impact.
“She was wonderfully supportive and such a funny, generous, authentic mentor to me,” Christopher said. “She helped me understand so much more about the role of philanthropy in Dallas life.”
Ultimately, Christopher has bettered the community by creating win-win solutions.
“It’s about helping a community or institution address critical needs and at the same time helping individuals and companies align their interests to satisfy those needs,” he said. “It’s fulfilling to the donors who give, and it’s fulfilling to the organization or broader community that now is able to address a need through the engagement of that donor, and that’s beautiful. That makes everybody happy.”